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Why Your Running Shorts Need a Phone Pocket

Buying Guide

If you want music, podcasts, route tracking or the ability to phone a friend while on a run, here's how to safely carry your favourite fitness accessory—your phone—while on the go.

Last updated: February 9, 2022
6 min read
Running Shorts With a Phone Pocket: Why They're So Convenient

If you're looking for some extra encouragement in your running routine, one way to boost motivation is to run while listening to an inspiring playlist, podcast or Audio-Guided Run in the Nike Run Club App. Of course, to do so, you'll need to bring your phone with you on the run.

Holding a phone during a run can get cumbersome, and with a phone in hand, you may run the risk of tripping and smashing it, or your hand might get too sweaty and your phone could slip. To avoid that handheld trouble, you'll want to consider what gear to wear on a run to make sure your phone is secure. After all, you probably spend time picking the right running shoes, gear and other essentials for whatever the weather brings, so don't forget to think about having a safe spot for your phone when it's time to run.

Why Bring Your Phone on a Run?

Mobile phones can be useful to carry on a run or fitness workout for a number of reasons. First of all, safety: if you have your phone with you, you can call friends or family if you get hurt or lost along your route. You may also want to give a friend a call if you need some motivation or encouragement along the way. Your smartphone gives you access to music or podcasts to listen to with headphones or earbuds if you're looking for ways to stay engaged and entertained on a longer run. Just be mindful not to play your music too loud, especially if you run outside at night, so you can stay alert and hear cars or other sounds around you.

How to Carry Your Phone on the Run

If you've decided to bring your phone with you on the run, you have a few options for how to carry it:

  1. Wear running shorts or trousers with phone pockets. Nike has options for running shorts with pockets in all shapes and sizes. Runners can find pairs with traditional pockets that zip or with a deep side pocket just the right size for your phone. There are breathable shorts with an inner pocket along the interior waistband, and some even have a back pocket that securely holds your stuff. Any of these options can help keep your mobile phone safe while you run.
  2. Strap it to your arm. There are special phone armbands with a pouch designed to carry phones, which is a great option for many runners. If you're open to adding an extra accessory onto your body during a run, this could be the right method for you.
  3. Hold it in your sports bra. Your phone will probably be secure this way, but it can be uncomfortable—depending on how your sports bra fits—and the phone will certainly get sweaty once your body is warmed up and working hard.
  4. Hold it in your hand, with a strap. A no-slip phone case with an adjustable strap can help you carry the phone by attaching it to your hand, instead of just holding it with your bare hand. Your hand won't get tired as quickly as if you were holding it without the strap, but you still have to hold something for the duration of the run.

There are also gilets, belts and backpacks that can work to hold your phone, but your comfort level with them may vary while you're running. Adding yet another layer to your running outfit could reduce your range of motion. You may end up buying a range of different phone carriers only to return them because they feel bulky or unnatural while you're running. To avoid these issues, work with what you've got. Wear running shorts (or trousers, tights or leggings) that already have a built-in pocket.

Stop Holding Your Phone

While it may seem the most convenient for easy access, carrying your mobile phone in your hand while you run is not ideal. It makes one hand heavier than the other, which can cause imbalances while you run. As you move your arms with each stride, the side not holding the phone will typically compensate for its heavier companion, making certain muscles work harder than others over time. You may not feel the strain right away, but it's happening when you hold your phone in your hand, and you may start to feel the impact, especially if you run every day.

Another reason not to hold your phone while running is because it can cause distractions. Looking down at your phone while you're running can lead to a stumble or fall if you make a misstep and lose control of your footing, and you don't want to damage your phone or yourself. Take extra care to secure your phone somewhere safe.

A Pocket Keeps Your Phone Safe

No matter where the location of the phone pocket on a pair of shorts is, it's the size of the pocket that will make all the difference. Runners will want their phone to fit snugly in the pocket, with just a little bit of extra room left over. You need to take into consideration the entire size of your phone, case included, which can mean a bigger pocket may be necessary. Pockets that leave some of your phone exposed increase the risk of it falling out as you run. You'll probably want the pocket to close securely.

The Best Running Bottoms With a Phone Pocket

The main thing runners should consider when it comes to a pair of running shorts or trousers with a phone pocket are the quality of the bottoms themselves. As running gear, more importantly than anything else, they have to perform for your workout. It's great that they'll also hold your phone, but if the material doesn't breathe, or if they don't fit you properly, what's the point?

Once you narrow down the pocket running shorts or trousers you like the most, runners should look for features including:

  • A stretch fabric that gives you great range of motion, like Nike Dri-FIT
  • Breathable, sweat-wicking and quick-drying material
  • Some compression to keep them in place
  • Ample coverage

You'll have preferences when it comes to length and fit, so let those guide you in picking your best running bottoms, rather than prioritising the pocket itself. The fit of the shorts or trousers matters most, rather than the exact location of the pocket. Just make sure the phone holder is the right size for your phone.

Zip or No Zip?

When dealing with pockets in your running shorts, one question to ask yourself is, Do I need a zip pocket? Zip pockets do provide an extra layer of security when it comes to your phone. Zipped up, there's no way it's falling out of your shorts. However, the zip makes the phone harder to get to. And, if the pocket is deep enough, your phone isn't going anywhere.

Often, running shorts that have multiple pockets will have at least one that zips. This could be large enough for a phone, but it might not be. If it's too small, the best items to keep in this particular pocket are the other valuables you may run with. You might stash your keys, cash or credit card, and an ID in a phone holder pocket, too. The zip is definitely a great option for a pair of running shorts, but it's not always necessary when it comes to keeping your phone safe. Go with whatever works best for you.

Your Must-have Running Accessory

For many runners, a phone is right up there alongside a water bottle as a must-have accessory for every run. If you're one of those runners, invest in a pair or two of high-quality, moisture-wicking, pocketed running shorts or trousers and you'll always have a secure, hands-free place to stow your smartphone.

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